Irish Champions Weekend has been a huge success since it inauguration in 2014. Filled with house hold names of international flat racing, top-class facilities and fabulous style you couldn’t ask for a better event to attend. Racing takes place on the 9th & 10th September, at Leopardstown and the Curragh respectively. Today I have put together some of my tips on how to get ready for a day at the races….
Research the Event in Question
First up if you are thinking of entering the best dressed competitions run on this weekend do your research. Look for key information such as who is judging, what is the prize, is there a theme on the day etc. These are all really important points because while you may look stunning you may not be a contender as you haven’t followed the guidelines. With regard to Irish Champions weekend the clue is in the name the “Longines Prize for Elegance”. Judges will be looking for utmost elegance which can be defined as “the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner”. Elegance to me is well cut tailored pieces, simplicity with a hint of sparkle and someone who can carry their outfit. Irish designers who I think embody elegance for the races are Louise Kennedy, Heidi Higgins and Marie Forkin. My favourite high-street shops for the races include LK Bennett, Reiss, Karen Millen, Ted Baker and Zara. Also take note of sales taking place and also make use of retail outlets like Kildare Village – there are often bargains waiting just around the corner.
Comfort is Key
When I think of a day at the races the first thing I want my outfit to be is comfortable while still being stylish… honestly don’t underestimated comfort! A day at the races can be a long one and if you’re uncomfortable it ruins the overall look of the outfit. You could be wearing the most beautiful outfit but if you’re hobbling around in uncomfortable heels with a grimace on your face you’re not going to be looking your best. Or more importantly enjoying yourself!
In the weeks running up to the races take note of what the weather is doing and plans to do, while not obsessing too much – don’t let it ruin your day! For example, I was lucky to attend Royal Ascot this year and saw that the temperatures were to soar over there. It even hit 33 degrees on the Wednesday so I opted for my lightest dresses. Irish Champions Weekend takes place in September which can be a tricky one as it’s what I call a transitional season – you don’t know what you’ll get. When in this situation I opt for layering. I have a few neutral lightweight coats/blazers that are perfect to just throw on. Zara is my go to place to purchase one of these. They go over any dress and keep you dry/warm. Also don’t underestimated the power of the pashmina.
Hats & Fascinators
A well-made hat or fascinator embodies elegance and I would always opt for one when attending a big race meeting such as Longines Irish Champions Weekend. Also, a tip I learned through assisting judge a couple of ladies days is you usually won’t be considered for the competition if you’re not wearing either a hat or fascinator. In 2016, Leopardstown introduced a new competition that compliments the main prize – The Champion Hat sponsored by Moët & Chandon, so you are provided with the perfect excuse to wear one. With so many great milliners in Ireland your have many options and styles to choose from. My favourite milliners include Alison Roe Millinery, Laura O’Hanlon Millinery, Cathriona King Millinery, Edel Ramberg Designs and Evelyn McDermott Millinery. My go to places for hire are Hats Amore in Newbridge and Ger Hennessy Hats & Fascinators in Kilworth. Also two upcoming milliners to keep an eye out for are Katie O’Farrell and Breege Lennon – you heard it here first!
Don’t be afraid to accessorize! Accessories can make an outift, whether it is a simple piece of jewellery, a belt or a statement bag. My advice when accessorising is don’t over do it. Pick one item to make a statement with or a few small delicate pieces. Accessories can also help change up an outfit, so take a look at some pre-loved pieces in your wardrobe and see what you can do – you might get a nice surprise!
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
Ireland is renowned for it’s creativity and designers, with more and more coming through the ranks everyday. If you are interested in the area of design/millinery use this opportunity to showcase your talent. You never know what might happen.